American Heart Association

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Although the Western States Affiliate's (WSA's) organizational model successfully increased fundraising revenue for the American Heart Association (AHA), the task force's initiative to adopt this structure and strategy at a national level indicates a lack of understanding of the AHA's overall vision and business strategy. If the AHA wishes to achieve even greater success while continuing to maintain its long-standing strategy of raising funds for research and community education, it should focus on developing a hybrid organizational structure, improving operational efficiency and strengthening its community participation.

While the new WSA organizational structure proved successful in increasing fundraising revenues, certain design attributes and unforeseen byproducts of the initial changes may have a negative impact on the AHA when deployed at a national scale since the national strategy does not match that of the WSA. When the WSA re-designed the organization around fundraising activities, it diminished the importance of community education. It also deemphasized geography within the WSA. Senior vice presidents (SVPs) were given significantly more direct reports and had to invest large amounts of time on overhead activities like travel and performance reviews. Executive directors (EDs) experienced implicit demotions via a removal of authority, supervisory relationships, and a redefinition of their roles. Additionally, the focus on fundraising at the local office level fostered damaging internal competition, disrupted a once clean interface to the community, and caused a loss of focus on educational programs and dilution of the AHA brand as a nonprofit organization. The WSA restructuring would still be considered a local success because the new design complemented its strategy focused primarily on fundraising. However, the AHA Nation Center's strategy requires a balance of community education and fundraising, and a direct application of the WSA...
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